Gov. Rick Perry used his State of the State address to call for amending the Texas Constitution to allow the state to return tax money it collects but doesn't spend back to its citizens.
Perry told a joint session of the Legislature that he has "never bought into the notion that if you collect more, you need to spend more."
"Today, I'm calling for a mechanism to be put in place so when we do bring in more than we need, we'll have the option of returning tax money directly to the people who paid it," the governor said Tuesday. "Currently, that's not something our constitution allows. We need to fix that."
Two years ago today, President Obama signed into law his vision of health care reform, a far-ranging and ever-more-expensive collection of price fixing and individual mandates that will forever be known as Obamacare.
Now, according to tradition, cotton is known as the gift for a second anniversary. But what do you get a federal government that wants to control everything? Unfortunately, the answer is more of your hard earned tax dollars.
Between 2001 and last June, Texas — a right-to-work state that taxes neither personal income nor capital gains — added more jobs than the other 49 states combined. And since the recovery began two Junes ago, Texas has created 37 percent of America’s net new jobs.
Texas became the USA's second-largest economy during the past decade — displacing New York and perhaps heading one day toward challenging California — in one of the biggest economic shifts in the past half-century.
The dramatic realignment of the nation's economy was illustrated by North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia all overtaking one-time industrial powerhouse Michigan in economic size from 2000 to 2010. The economic winners of the last decade are states that focus on raw materials, government and senior citizens. The big losers are places that make things — industrial states and even California.
USA TODAY examined each state's gross domestic product to determine how the country's economic output has shifted within its borders. The data, recently released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, reflect both population growth and income increases — in short, the economic weight of each state.
Once again, those observing Texas' strong economy are crediting Governor Perry's fiscal conservative leadership. This time the kudos come The Wall Street Journal's Political Diary. In "Texas Shows the Way," published on May 19th, the article points out that in these tough economic times, our state continues to only spend what it can afford. What's more, Texas gets credit for getting more bang for its buck when it comes to education. Now that's the definition of fiscal conservative!
Please read the WSJ's Political Dairy entry below...
Texas Shows the Way
Texas lawmakers often take pride in providing a strong contrast to California's tax-and-spend politicians. So it's not surprising that Texas Republicans are seeking to close their two-year $23 billion budget gap by cutting education and not raising taxes.
The Texas House budget lops off $8 billion from education, and the Senate plan cuts $4 billion. Last year, school budgets totaled $51 billion, $23 billion of which came from the state. The state's cuts might not be as tough for districts to swallow if student enrollment weren't skyrocketing. But over the past decade, Texas's school aged population has grown by roughly 30%. According to one survey, the state enrolls 500 new students every school day.
Last week Jim Pitts, the GOP chairman of Texas's House Appropriations Committee, warned the legislature that many schools could be forced to shut down eventually if lawmakers don't appropriate more money for education. Teachers unions have also warned that the budget could result in between 80,000 and 100,000 layoffs.
Since state law caps local property tax rates, districts can't raise them when state funding decreases. In 2001 a number of school districts sued the state arguing that it violated a constitutional mandate to adequately fund education. The districts won that case, which could serve as a precedent for future lawsuits.
Yet it's important to maintain perspective. The National Education Association reports that Texas spends $9,227 per pupil, or roughly $1,300 less than the national average, but still more than what either California or Florida spends. Texas also seems to get more bang for its buck. According to a federal National Assessment of Education Progress report, Texas has higher math and writing test scores and a lower pupil-teacher ratio than the national average.
Lone Star Republicans say that education cuts will only be temporary and that the state's economic resurgence will restore funding in the next couple of years. They have good reason to hope so. Texas accounted for 17% of the nation's job growth in March. While other states are raising taxes to spare education, Texas's low tax base will spur economic growth, which over time will provide more revenue for schools.
Governor Rick Perry today issued the following statement on Comptroller Susan Combs' Revised Biennial Revenue Estimate:
"The revised revenue estimate shows the strength of Texas job creation and economic growth, but it does not mean lawmakers can abandon necessary budget reductions. Just as Texas families and employers have had to tighten their belts during the national recession, so must state government.
It wasn't your usual legislative hearing. A group of largely Republican California lawmakers and Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom traveled here last week to hear from businesses that have left their state to set up shop in Texas.
"We came to learn why they would pick up their roots and move in order to grow their businesses," says GOP Assemblyman Dan Logue, who organized the trip. "Why does Chief Executive magazine rate California the worst state for job and business growth and Texas the best state?"
The contrast is undeniable. Texas has added 165,000 jobs during the last three years while California has lost 1.2 million. California's jobless rate is 12% compared to 8% in Texas.